April 17, 2008
Rolla, Mo. - A former Rolla resident who took thousands of dollars in payment from consumers to build wooden benches, rocking chairs and other merchandise but failed to deliver the items or provide refunds will comply with all consumer protection laws and no longer engage in the sale of woodworking products of any kind under an agreement with Attorney General Jay Nixon. Dave Hentzel, who formerly ran the business Extreme Woodworking LLC, also has already paid $3,430 in restitution to two consumers as part of the assurance of voluntary compliance, which was filed in Phelps County Circuit Court. Hentzel now lives in Seattle, Wash.
Nixon filed a lawsuit against Hentzel on Feb. 21, alleging that the defendant engaged in the unlawful conduct while operating Extreme Woodworking out of Rolla from 2004 to 2006. During that period, Hentzel traveled to arts and crafts shows around the country and exhibited merchandise to consumers, advertising that he would build wooden products for those consumers who placed orders and agreed to pay a certain amount up front.
At least two consumers who paid Hentzel thousands of dollars for merchandise did not receive the items or have their payments to the defendant refunded. These included a Toledo, Ohio, man who paid Hentzel $1,930 at a fair for a wooden bench suitable for outdoor placement in varying weather conditions. When the bench deteriorated during winter weather - contrary to the defendant's guarantees - Hentzel agreed to retrieve the bench to repair or replace it. Despite numerous attempts to reach the defendant and after at least one promise from Hentzel that he was about the deliver the item, the consumer did not receive the bench or a refund.
Another consumer paid the defendant $1,500 at an arts and crafts fair in Austin, Texas to build and deliver a wooden rocking chair. Months later, Hentzel told the consumer that the chair had been damaged beyond repair and that he would be issuing a full refund. As an alternative, Hentzel offered the consumer a replacement chair for half the price the consumer originally paid. The consumer never received a replacement chair or refund despite numerous attempts to contact Hentzel.
Today's agreement also includes a suspended civil penalty of $25,000 that the defendant would be required to pay if the court finds that he violated any of the terms of the settlement, and a requirement that Hentzel pay $250 for the costs of the investigation and enforcement of the case.